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Lessons from the Australian Patient Safety Foundation: setting up a national patient safety surveillance system—is this the right model?
  1. W B Runciman
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor WB Runciman, Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia;
 wrunciman{at}bigpond.com

Abstract

The evolution of the concepts and processes underpinning the Australian Patient Safety Foundation's systems over the last 15 years are traced. An ideal system should have the following attributes: an independent organisation to coordinate patient safety surveillance; agreed frameworks for patient safety and surveillance systems; common, agreed standards and terminology; a single, clinically useful classification for things that go wrong in health care; a national repository for information covering all of health care from all available sources; mechanisms for setting priorities at local, national and international levels; a just system which caters for the rights of patients, society, and healthcare practitioners and facilities; separate processes for accountability and “systems learnings”; the right to anonymity and legal privilege for reporters; systems for rapid feedback and evidence of action; mechanisms for involving and informing all stakeholders. There are powerful reasons for establishing national systems, for aligning terminology, tools and classification systems internationally, and for rapid dissemination of successful strategies.

  • patient safety
  • incident reporting
  • quality improvement
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